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No Bomber Pilots allowed
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Or another example of leftist rationalization which allows the deep discounting of military experience when military experience is suddenly a detriment because your candidate has none.

John Hawkins ran across this little beauty at the Daily Kos:
One aspect of McCain's presidency that I have not seen addressed is the precise form of his military experience. We have had good presidents with military experience - Eisenhower and Carter come to mind - as well as good ones without it - FDR and Clinton, to name two.

But military experience is not all equal. Slogging through the mud is not the same as calibrating a nuclear submarine. And of all the possible military experiences, that of bomber pilot to me is most suspect.

It can be argued whether bomber pilots are needed at all. Certainly some of their runs, such as the Dresden firestorm, are now seen as war crimes. But let us grant for the purpose of the arguement that there are limited appropriate uses for bombers in a just war. How does being a bomber pilot shape the person who experiences it?

Of all forms of warfare, bombing is the most ethereal, the most detached from the human carnage and suffering it causes. Down below, on the ground, children are bleeding, mothers are crying, fathers are scattered in small pieces and towns burn. Above, in the heavens, the pilot sees only flowers of fire bloom in precise rows, elegant punctuated lines of clouds of dust. Bombing is of all forms of warfare the one least suited to teaching the true consequences of actions.

I don't want a bomber pilot for a president.
As Hawkins points out, when it was Bush and Kerry, Kerry's real world military experience was a critical factor in his viability for office while Bush only had, you know, National Guard experience, which, of course isn't anything like being in the real military.

Now, apparently, that has changed. Now there is good military experience and bad military experience, even if that bad military experience is in the real military.

Of course you could fisk the thing to death. Mud vs. "calibrating a nuclear submarine (?)", Carter characterized as a "good president", and "bombing" in WWII (Dresden) being similar to the air war in Viet Nam. But you know immediately that such fisking would fall on deaf ears, so why bother.

Obviously the writer has no concept of what close air support entails. For those that do it has very little to do with "flowers of fire" blooming (McCain wasn't a Buff pilot) and one heck of a lot to do dodging surface to air missile and triple-A while lining up low level runs trying to keep your guys from being overrun by the other guys.

A-4s did a lot of that and their pilots paid for that. They made runs into the area of Hanoi which was, at the time, the most heavily defended piece of air space in the world. This is the chronicle of an Air Force pilot on how runs were made into that air space, but they are the same conditions in which "Bomber" McCain made his runs as well. Hardly "ethereal" stuff.

But heck, that sort of factual information isn't welcome to someone like the writer. Bombers are bad. Since bombers are bad, not all military experience is good. Since John McCain was a "bomber pilot" - well 'nuff said. And reason enough to blow off McCain's military experience as not being worthwhile.

Hey, when rationalizing, whatever it takes to get past the facts, no matter how ham-handed one must be, and feel good about it is all that is called for. Mission accomplished.
 
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We have had good presidents with military experience - Eisenhower and Carter come to mind
I’m sorry, but I stopped reading right there.

Anyone who puts Carter in the same group as Eisenhower is clearly retarded, and I have better things to do with my time than read the idiocy they spout.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
That’s right, Ike was a good warrior because he never had to pull the trigger on anyone.

But this next gem needs fisking, it BEGS for fisking!

Of all forms of warfare, bombing is the most ethereal, the most detached from the human carnage and suffering it causes. Down below, on the ground, children are bleeding, mothers are crying, fathers are scattered in small pieces and towns burn. Above, in the heavens, the pilot sees only flowers of fire bloom in precise rows, elegant punctuated lines of clouds of dust. Bombing is of all forms of warfare the one least suited to teaching the true consequences of actions.
Of all forms of warfare, bombing is the second most ethereal, the first is Ballistic Nuclear Warfare. The most detached from human carnage and suffering it causes is sitting on a Boomer and waiting for the go code so you can turn your keys and push your buttons. Woosh go the missiles, rushing to the surface. Down below, under the ocean, while your Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles fly to destinations continents away to vaporize entire cities in a flash of American Sunlight. Above in the heavens, the mushroom cloud blooms to mark your success, elegant from a long distance, massively destructive within many miles of your target point. Bombing is, of all forms of warfare, second only to nuclear warfare, pushing those buttons and knowing that an hour or so from now, many millions will disappear in an instantaneous act of fission that will leave radioactive desolation that will last for generation upon generation.
And that’s the line of work good President Jimmah was in. They also serve who stand and maintain the reactors so the Boomers can do their job.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I guess that would have excluded B-24 pilot George McGovern from being qualified for the presidency.
 
Written By: DMac
URL: http://
Anyone who puts Carter in the same group as Eisenhower is clearly retarded, and I have better things to do with my time than read the idiocy they spout.
Ditto. Unless the US disintegrates in the next few months, Carter will remain the worst president in my lifetime.
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
Maybe the author should read something other than Noam Chomsky
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

John Stuart Mill
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I don’t honestly see how it’s relevant, either. Commendable or not, flying a plane or any other military service (aside from perhaps a high-ranking command position like Ike had) doesn’t really have anything to do with being the President. Nor is there any indication that military experience has any noticeable trend effect on a politician’s position on war.



 
Written By: Andy Craig
URL: http://
So upon what, then, should we judge someone’s qualifications to be CiC?
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
How about this precise line:
the most detached from the human carnage and suffering it causes.
When that line is divorced from a hypothetical bomber pilot, and we insert the real man McCain one cannot but be shocked. Given McCain’s experience in particular, the idea that he is divorced from the suffering of war is a mind bogglingly grotesque statement.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
I don’t think the President’s military role should be of overwhelming importance when deciding who to vote for. There are more important things to consider.



 
Written By: Andy Craig
URL: http://
Again Andy...

Name them.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Oh Lance, I’m sure Wee Mama thinks he deserved what he got in that Hanoi POW camp, so it’s not really suffering you know, it’s justice.

As McQ pointed out, it all falls on deaf ears. They have a form of reality they dwell in, it’s ethereal and detached from real human existence.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
And thus another reminder why the Daily Kos is home of the dumbest people on Earth.
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
And thus another reminder why the Daily Kos is home of the dumbest people on Earth.
Did Olberman’s show get canceled?
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Name what? I told you- I don’t think it’s something that should be of great concern. It’s not as though the President is responsible for coming up with military strategy. Like almost everything else he does, the issue is not him deciding based on personal experience and knowledge but rather having the good judgment to pick from several options other people who do know what they’re talking about have prepared for him.

 
Written By: Andy Craig
URL: http://
Again Andy...

Name them.
Well, running for office, "organizing" communities, and running for office...
 
Written By: Is
URL: http://
I don’t honestly see how it’s relevant, either. Commendable or not, flying a plane or any other military service (aside from perhaps a high-ranking command position like Ike had) doesn’t really have anything to do with being the President.
If that were the sum total of his military experience, you might have a point. But it isn’t - the man spend 20 years in the military. So it does have some relevance, or should, as does all experience one gathers during their lifetime.

The point here is this both ignorantly minimizes and then dismisses his military experience by falsely characterizing it as something it wasn’t and implying that’s the extent of it.

Secondly:
I don’t think the President’s military role should be of overwhelming importance when deciding who to vote for.
Those who have seen and experienced war are usually much less likely to send others into harm’s way unless there is a very compelling reason.
There are more important things to consider.
Depending on the person’s experiences in life, that may be true, but as a blanket statement, I don’t agree.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Carter was out of the Navy before the Nautilus was launched.
 
Written By: Roy Lofquist
URL: http://
Those who have seen and experienced war are usually much less likely to send others into harm’s way unless there is a very compelling reason

There’s no real evidence of this. Case in point: McCain, who has always been eager to use the military for significantly less than compelling reasons. His time in the military imbued him not with an aversion to war but rather with a militaristic, "National[read:Government] Greatness" view of things. In his worldview, rallying-’round-the-leader is a desirable thing in and of itself, as is anything that provokes it.

I agree it should be taken into consideration as part of their broader experience, but I don’t see any evidence that military experience makes for a good, or even better, commander in chief. Furthermore- the whole issue of experience should be much less of a consideration than their positions. A resume a mile long doesn’t justify voting for a candidate with bad positions.



 
Written By: Andy Craig
URL: http://
There’s no real evidence of this.
What real "evidence" would you accept, other than the fact that life tells us that someone is less likely to commit someone else to an experience they found to be as terrifying, deadly and brutal as war, than someone who hasn’t had those experiences?
but I don’t see any evidence that military experience makes for a good, or even better, commander in chief.
So you see nothing of military experience which might better prepare you to command the military than say, being a community organizer?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
What real "evidence" would you accept

Some statistical evidence that veterans tend to oppose war more often.

So you see nothing of military experience which might better prepare you to command the military than say, being a community organizer?


I think both are less relevant than possessing good judgment, which I see in neither McCain nor Obama.

 
Written By: Andy Craig
URL: http://
Some statistical evidence that veterans tend to oppose war more often.
Have you ever talked to any veterans about that?
I think both are less relevant than possessing good judgment, which I see in neither McCain nor Obama.
That’s not what I asked you - I asked if military experience might be more relevant and helpful to someone who will command the military than not having such experience?

I couldn’t care less about McCain or Obama.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Have you ever talked to any veterans about that?

I said statistical, not anecdotal.

That’s not what I asked you - I asked if military experience might be more relevant and helpful to someone who will command the military than not having such experience?

If that’s all I had to go on, I’d pick the veteran. But we’re not talking about an abstract hypothetical. We’re talking about a real individual where several other factors are at play.

 
Written By: Andy Craig
URL: http://
I don’t think the President’s military role should be of overwhelming importance when deciding who to vote for. There are more important things to consider.
I would like to hazard a guess here - you have never served in the military. Those who have would not make a blanket statement like that.

There are two points to make of this blog entry. First - McCain flew A4s and in the role he flew he had to get close to his work. He was essentially a dive bomber for the deliveries that he made. You don’t get any closer or more personal in your work that those aircraft - maybe A1s might get closer - maybe. the left wants to villify McCain for his service. They have belittled his POW status to the point of inferring his mind was ravaged beyond repair from the experience and therefore shouldn’t be allowed the Presidency.

McGovern flew bombers - B24s in fact. If you know anything about the state of military technology of the aircraft of that day, you would know the crew had little clue where their bombs were going to land. They were level bombers and gravity played the one significant role in the bombs they dropped getting to the ground. McGovern was a hero to the left.

But it is interesting that McGovern would be given a pass while McCain should be villified. Bomber pilots, schmober pilots - it has everything to do with McCain being a Republican vying for the position the ObamaMessiah desires that creates this kind of stupidity.

The second point is the total ignorance most of the people have on the left regarding military service. They. Do. Not. Have. A. Clue! To make the statement "Bombing is of all forms of warfare the one least suited to teaching the true consequences of actions" shows just how ignorant the author is. McGovern was a hero to the left because it served their purposes to make him one. Kerry was a hero to the left because it served their purposes to make him one. McCain is a villain - a (god Forbid!) Bomber Pilot! Because it serves their purpose to villify him for that service.

Consider the two men vying for the position of Commander-in-Chief. I would think from a simply logical perspective someone with military experience has an edge over one who does not. And for that reason, you cannot discount the discrepancy between the two men in this area.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I said statistical, not anecdotal.
I never said it was statistical, I asked if you’ve ever talked to any veterans about this?
But we’re not talking about an abstract hypothetical.
No, we’re not. We’re talking about someone taking command of the military. That’s a given. That’s part of the job.

So if you feel military experience is relevant over no military experience for that job, then military experience is relevant in an election because that is one of the jobs the next president will assume.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Ummm where to begin??

That the Daily Kos author has never served in the military is obvious. He/she has created some bizarre hierarchy scheme to protect their fragile world view.

I’ve seen children use more intellectual rigor when comparing their favorite superheroes:

"Green Lantern’s ring beats all y’all"

"Oh yeah, well Batman’s utility belt trumps anything Green Lantern can dish out."



 
Written By: Garmon Estes
URL: http://
Actually, the fact that a candidate has military experience doesn’t really predict how good a President he’ll be. What is of greater predictive value is how he carried out his duties in the military.
If you doubt that, consider the following list:

Washington
Jackson
Grant
Eisenhower

In terms of military achievement, meaning creating a strategy and carrying it to a successful conclusion, Grant was probably the best of the four. (Jackson operated on a smaller scale; Eisenhower didn’t have the personal imprint on strategy that Grant did; Washington’s achievement was probably the most difficult but ultimately the simplest—to keep the army in being until time and allies were brought to bear—and a unique achievement that shouldn’t really be compared to the others.) But in terms of being POTUS, Grant was not only the worst of the four, but one of the worst presidents we’ve ever had. But however you evaluate their military achievements against each other, it’s fairly clear that they governed as president in roughly the same way they commanded their army. (Harrison was a successful commander, but dying after only a month in office means we have no idea of how good a president he would have actually been.)

The Presidents who had military experience in earlier life but did not have ultimate command responsibility like the four above has similar results: TR, Truman, JFK, Bush Sr. [am I missing anyone from the 19th century?]—even when the military experience was not something they made a big deal about (Truman, Bush, Sr.) (And TR’s case is complicated by the fact that he was already politically important before he became a military hero.) Of them all, McCain’s military experience is probably most similar to JFK and Bush Sr, neither of whom will go down as one of the ’great’ presidents, even if Bush Sr. was responsible for one of the most impressive American military feats in history.

And that’s without considering the military heroes who ran but failed, like Cass and McClellan.
 
Written By: kishnevi
URL: http://kishnevi.wordpress.com/
Actually, the fact that a candidate has military experience doesn’t really predict how good a President he’ll be.
Unless I missed it, I don’t believe that’s at all what is being discussed here.
TR, Truman, JFK, Bush Sr. [am I missing anyone from the 19th century?]
Harrison, Taylor, Pierce, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, and McKinley.

And then there’s Carter in the 20th.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
McCain’s support for the Surge, and Obama’s continuing opposition pretty much tell me all I need to know on the issue.

One man supported a key effort that turned things around, at a time when it wasn’t popular to do so. The other man can’t admit that he was wrong to oppose the effort.

Pretty much boils down to wisdom & intellectual courage vs ignorance & hubris, at least on this issue . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Speaking of ignorance & hubris, where is Scott?
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Excuse me?
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
I think he means Erb, who I believe is on vacation; an Egyptian river cruise or some such.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://

 
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